First Look: Shomin Sample

mpv-shot0002Alternative titles: I Was Abducted by an Elite All-Girls School as a Sample Commoner, Anime was a mistake
Light Novel Adaptation by Silver Link
Streaming on Funimation

Premise

In your head, picture the most contrived way you could arrange for a light novel protagonist to gather a harem for himself that you can imagine, and you are not even close.

colons’ verdict: This, too, was a product of people’s time and attention

World of Warcraft came out in 2004, and since then, there have been countless MMORPGs that have been developed in an attempt to dethrone it as The One True MMO. None have managed it, and very few have even been profitable. Still, though, people make them. People believe that they have found the thing that can make them work, the one secret ingredient they can add to make theirs be the one that succeeds. For everything but their One Special Thing, though, they stick to the formula. The difference between the MMO market and the light novel anime adaptation market appears to be only that the height of the ‘success’ hurdle is lower because the investment required to make one is so much less.

In Shomin Sample‘s case, the One Special Thing is a uniquely farcical setting in which Shit Protag is the only ‘commoner’ in a school full of comically sheltered upper class folk, brought in in an attempt to reduce the shock the school’s students feel when they first experience the reality of the outside world. Conveniently for the light novel medium, the school is an all girls’ school, and Shit Protag is, of course, the blandest dude imaginable.

Of course, knowing what men are like, the staff of the school couldn’t just bring any old dude into this place, they’d just exploit these very vulnerable girls; they had to bring someone they understood to be super gay. Not just like, ‘attracted to other dudes’, our protagonist is ostensibly attracted to caricatures of the masculine ideal. Steroid abusers, basically. They understand this to be the case based on the testimony of one of his friends, and this first episode goes out of its way to establish that this friend might not have been entirely reliable. Protag has a pretty disturbing collection of posters that are just pictures of girls’ thighs, and massively overacts his attraction to muscles, but only when prompted. That’s not to say it’s necessarily not real, but certainly this show is leaving plenty of room for fans to self-insert. Shit Protag remains, as ever, the blankest of slates.

Shomin Sample is just as good an example of shitty light novel adaptations as most of the rest of this season, and it remains deeply saddening to me that it will probably be profitable enough to motivate two or three other shows of this calibre. Please, readers, do not contribute to this epidemic. Do not further the idea that this shit is worth anyone’s time. People are wasting their lives making this garbage and you can stop it.

mpv-shot0004

Iro’s verdict: Hazardous, Do Not Sample

This show feels like the culmination of anime’s bizarre obsession with overly sheltered girls as fetish objects, wherein our protagonist is the only male in an entire school of Proper Ladies who fawn all over him at all times because he’s a regular guy. This goes above and beyond the usual light novel route of having the protagonist be the best at something unimportant, by having him be good at nothing and still having the ladies lining up for his attention. At this point it is depressingly hard to tell if mainstream anime as a whole is deliberately self-parody or actually just terrible, but with stuff like Shomin Sample hanging around I’m going to have to lean towards the latter.

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